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Dream Dram: Bowmore Mizunara Cask Finish

thewhiskylady - 2015-09-18


“Mizunara oak casks embarked on the 6,000 mile journey from Japan to Islay.

Cultures and languages differ but master craftsmanship is admired the whole world over. Combining the best of the east and the west in a first for scotch malt whisky, Bowmore Mizunara cask finish is an intriguing marriage of Scottish strength and passion with Japanese elegance and refinement.

Here, in a first for scotch malt whisky, these legendary Mizunara casks became home to Bowmore’s celebrated single malt, resting peacefully in the infamous No.1 Vaults. A remarkable creation has emerged which is a rare masterpiece indeed, merging the skills of the great whisky distilling nations.” (Bowmore Official Website)

greenspot2Unveiled a few weeks ago (18 August) at an event in the Greenwich Observatory, London, the expression has been available from 1 September on allocation in the UK, US, Germany, France, Sweden, Japan and in travel retail. It is limited to 2,000 bottles, each priced from £650 (I know…).

Selected ex-sherry and ex-Bourbon matured liquid was finished for three years in virgin Japanese mizunara oak. While the release carries no age statement, at the launch David Turner, Bowmore head distiller, said that expressions contains “different vintages of the nineties”.

Mizunara trees grow in northerly Japan and can take up to 300 years to reach maturity. The casks used for Bowmore Mizunara Cask Finish were handmade in Japan before being transported to Bowmore’s No. 1 Vaults warehouse where the liquid fully matured.

It is thought that this is one of the first occasions the casks have left Japan for use in whisky production elsewhere.

International marketing manager (malts) at Beam Suntory, Hannah Fisher, said: “I cannot stress highly enough how much this was an experiment.” She added that casks offering the Bowmore “signature style” were selected for the expression. (The Spirits Business)




I had the chance honour to receive a wee sample of this rare and pricey nectar, which came in a mysterious Japanese wooden puzzle box: a beautiful & well thought-after package (I must confess here I couldn’t wait for the instructions to be sent – you know me, still a capricious child, way too curious –  and had to ask my patient and oh-so-strong-and-perfect boyfriend to open it – part of the credits also go to Google…) for what happened to be a real liquid jewel!


This Bowmore expression is bottled at 53.9 ABV and non-chill filtered.

Nose: An impressive amount of different aromas, a rich nose, as elegant and aromatic as a designer perfume. The nose really blew me away with its subtle smoky notes, soft peat, leathery & floral profile. Also, pleasant tropical fruit, cooked cherries, orange blossom and rosewood hints lead the way to more herbal flavours such as sandalwood, rosemary and citrusy fragrances (I wanted to talk about “dill” here but it’s way too related for me to my very special Salmon Pasta recipe it won’t be any relevant…)

Palate: punchy, zingy, vibrant beginning on the tongue : cloves, pepper, chili, leather (switching from designer perfumes to luxury leatherwork here, Bowmore definitely knows how to put me at ease!) and pleasant woody notes. Overall, a surprising palate with great character which took me quite a few sips to -at least- partially understand (not the kind of spirit animal you can tame!): powerful, yet subtle, amazingly just and balanced.

Finish: warm and lingering with soft peatiness & leathery notes… Such a peaty pity I can’t afford a whole bottle!



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